USS SEA POACHER (SS-406)
Sea Poacher (SS-406) was laid down by the
Portsmouth (N.H.) Navy Yard on 23 February 1944; launched
on 20 May 1944; sponsored by Mrs. J. H. Spiller, wife of Comdr. Spiller,
hull superintendent at the Navy Yard; and commissioned on 31 July 1944, Comdr.
F. M. Gambacorta in command.
Following underway trials, training, and shakedown in the
Portsmouth, N.H., and New London, Conn., areas, Sea Poacher transited
the Panama Canal and arrived at Pearl Harbor on 25 October 1944.
Although her first two war patrols were unproductive, during the third,
conducted in the Kuril Islands area, Sea Poacher torpedoed
and sank a Japanese trawler and, four days later, sent two fishing
boats to the bottom in a surface attack. During the latter action, three
crewmen were injured when the 20 millimeter gun exploded. Due to
the seriousness of their injuries, the patrol was terminated
ahead of schedule, and the submarine returned to Midway.
After conducting her fourth war patrol off the eastern
coast of Honshu and Hokkaido, Sea Poacher was undergoing
refitting at Pearl Harbor when the war ended on 15 August 1945.
From 1946 to 1949, Sea Poacher was based at
Balboa, Canal Zone, as a unit of Submarine Squadron (SubRon) 6
engaging in fleet exercises and antisubmarine training,
and, on 1 June 1949, was transferred to Key West, Fla., as
a unit of SubRon 4. In 1951, the submarine became the first Guppy IA
conversion performed at the Charleston Naval Shipyard.
For the remainder of her 25-year career, Sea Poacher operated
for the most part in the Key West, Fla., and Caribbean areas,
providing services to various units of the Atlantic Fleet with time out
for tours of duty with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean and various exercises
with NATO forces. On 10 July 1952, while operating in the Key West
area, the submarine had the unique experience of rescuing a blimp which had suffered an engine casualty and was floating helplessly in
the water. The submarine promptly
came to the aid of the stricken
airship and proceeded to tow it the 40 miles back to its base at the United States Naval Air Station, Boca Chica, Fla.
In July 1959, Sea Poacher was transferred to
SubRon 12, also based at Key West, and continued to serve as a unit
of this squadron for the remainder of her active service. In the fall of
1962, Sea Poacher was deployed with other Atlantic Fleet units
maintaining the quarantine imposed on Cuba during the missile crisis.
In 1969, Sea Poacher concluded her service with a three and
one-half month deployment to the eastern and northern Atlantic areas
to participate in antisubmarine training exercises with units of
the Spanish and Portugese navies. Upon returning to Key West, the submarine
operated locally and in the Caribbean until 20 October when she set sail for
Philadelphia and in-activation. Sea Poacher was reclassified an
auxiliary submarine (AGSS) on 1 November, decommissioned on 15
November 1969, and was assigned to the Atlantic Reserve Fleet at
Philadelphia. On 30 June 1971, she reassumed the designation of a fleet
submarine (SS). On 15 August 1973, her name was struck from the Navy list,
and the submarine was sold to Peru in July 1974.
Sea Poacher received four battle stars for
World War II service.
[Note: The above USS SEA POACHER (SS-406) history may, or may not, contain text provided by crew members of the USS SEA POACHER (SS-406), or by other non-crew members, and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]